Two men who set out last month to walk to all of California’s missions completed their journey this week.
Ron Briery, a 1963 Arroyo Grande High School graduate, and Beppe Sala of Italy announced via email the completion of their statewide trek that began March 1.
On March 31, the pair had reached the middle point of their trip — Mission San Miguel. They had journeyed through cities and along creeks and let Highway 101 guide them along what’s left of the old El Camino Real. The total journey was about 800 miles, which they completed on schedule.
“The final surprise was walking into the mission in Sonoma and seeing a copy of the San Luis Obispo article on the desk with instructions to ‘Keep an eye for these guys,’ ” Briery said.
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Briery’s wife, Sandy Briery, hiked the first 200 miles of the trip before heading home to spend time with their grandchildren during spring break. She then met up with the men in Monterey for the last 200 miles, Ron Briery said.
Among the many people they met along the way were two fourth-grade students who interviewed the pair for their school mission projects.
Briery, now living in Eagle Point, Ore., met Sala after hiking in Spain a few years back. Then they began discussing their adventure in California.
Briery planned the quest using Google Maps and laid out step-by-step directions on how to walk no more than 20 miles a day. He drove his planned route to make sure.
Sala walked for the pilgrimage, which is a spiritual journey. Briery said he walked to embrace history.
“This really has been a great adventure,” Briery said in his email. “Hopefully more hikers will follow.”